Living in New York City, you meet people from many walks of life. When people meet me, they become fascinated and overwhelmed with my history. And I sometimes forget what makes them take interest in a little chubby Mexican Gay boy who was adopted at birth. But then I think about it and realize, “Oh, yeah, I guess that’s why–but still, I wonder?”
My story started June 30, 1975 in Mexico. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. (Child, I hope I don’t get sued for that line) My biological mother didn’t want another child, so the midwife (my future aunt’s mother) made a quick phone call minutes after I was born and called my future adoptive parents and explain, “I have a little boy that nobody wants, do you want him?” My parents, not being able to have children of their own–mom had something wrong with her uterus and my dad was sterile–immediately jumped in their green Cougar and drove all night from Odessa, TX to El Paso, TX. The midwife, after placing me in a wicker basket and covering me with newspapers–making look like she was a newspaper carrier, illegally crossed me from Juarez, Mexico to El Paso, TX–where she prayed that I wouldn’t start crying when the border patrol stopped to question her trip across the border. My parents were at her house hours later and that’s how I got my start.
A few months ago I asked my mom what her favorite childhood memory with me was and she replied, “It was the next day after bringing you home and I had you on the bed (Mexican’s didn’t use cribs back then) and all my friends were present and they all said that you looked like me. I also appreciated not having any scars from childbirth.” That’s my mom, a modern day woman of the 70s. My sister, who was also adopted–from a different family–is eight years my senior and was super excited to have a baby brother. According to her, her favorite memory was when they brought me home and she pretended that I was her baby.
Because of my parents generous nature (which I hope to one day acquire because I am one greedy Mexican and according to my dad I am the spawn of Satan), when they found out that my biological mother was out of a home, out of money they brought her to the USA and hired her to be my live-in nanny/babysitter for the first few months. Later, they’d come to discover my eight-year-old sister was skipping school to stay at home with me because my biological mother was letting me go hungry and wouldn’t change my diapers during the day–this was 1975, so “Pampers” were not in the picture. They fired her and my independent woman of a mother stayed at home with me instead. My parents always wanted my biological mother to be a part of my life and when saying my nightly prayers would force me to include her in them. I see now what beautiful people they are–but back then I just thought they were crazy.
My sister and I slept in the same bed and had some of the best talks ever–once I was older. We’d stay up talking about being adopted and what it meant to us. See, to us, it wasn’t a big deal and still to this day, we both don’t feel one way or another about it–sometimes we forget we’re adopted because “family is family” and we all argue, love and gossip–just like yours. Since then, both my sister and I have met our biological brothers and sisters, something that our parents helped us do–and people will look at us crazy when I say, Oh, this is my sister’s sister–when we all hang out together–because it’s all complicated! (But when you ask us, we say we only have one sibling–each other–but then we have to back track)
When I came out to my family, I knew my mom and sister would be fine with it–in fact after telling my mother, she lit up a cigarette, requested a Pepsi and told me to move out of the way, because Hunter, her favorite show, was about to come on. It was my dad I was worried about. I knew he always wanted a son who was into sports and to help him hot-tar the roof, but that wasn’t me, instead I’d bake him brownies and gave him wardrobe suggestions. Now, everyone in my family knows my business and to them…I’m “just me,” in fact when I go home to visit they call me by my nickname, which I will NEVER EVER REVEAL–and it’s comforting.
So as I go on my life’s journey–I know I’ll meet people who will continue to be fascinated with my life and ask how it’s possible that I can write about it in such a manner that ropes in humor, drama and what at times seems like fiction, but my answer remains the same, it’s because I’m gay, Mexican, and adopted.